Cliven Bundy is not a fan of walls.
A hero to some of the far-right due to his family's armed standoffs with the US government, the Nevada rancher is an avid supporter of Donald Trump. But there’s one major issue where they diverge.
"I really questioned the doctrine of ever starting it about building a wall," Bundy, 72, told the Guardian on Wednesday. "I don't like walls. I think we were able to get along with neighbors … Trump's wall never had a very good sit with me. "
The Bundy family is renewed attention this week as unexpected critics of the president's anti-immigrant agenda after the US fired teargas at migrants, including children, at the Mexico border. The objections of the Bundy men – who were jailed for nearly two years and were celebrated by anti-government militias – add to the list of right vote voices. Trump for his attacks on migrants seeking asylum.
Cliven and his sons Ammon and Ryan were famously prosecuted after their family longstanding refinancing fees for their Nevada cattle, which escalated to an ongoing conflict with their employers in 2014. In 2016, they continued their protests of the federal land. regulation and the government treatment of ranchers with a takeover of an Oregon wildlife national refuge, which ended in mass arrests.
The US prosecutors failed to convict the Bundes in both cases, and Trump, later, and two ranchers in Oregon, whose promotions had sparked the refuge standoff.
Despite links between the White House and the Bund's rightwing causes, Ammon was surprised by some of his followers on Facebook challenging videos of the president's positions and expressing sympathies for migrants seeking to enter the US.
Ammonite criticized conspiracy theories about migrants and claims that "they are all a bunch of terrorists", saying: "That's a bunch of garbage." He also acknowledged violence migrants are fleeing: "The conditions in Honduras are factually terrible … Many "A mother or daughter and children and that have been threatened."
He said some anti-immigrant arguments are "fear-based" and "based upon selfishness".
Reached by phone, Cliven said he agreed with some of his son's arguments.
"Are they good people or bad people? If they're good looking people for refuge, we're Americans and we should try to help them, "he said, noting the harrowing journeys some have likely taken. "How much suffering and effort are there to get to our border? They are after some freedom and liberty and a better life. "
Cliven, however, said it was "hard to tell what is the truth" and that the migrants could get payments for part of the caravan. Trump and other Republicans have repeated baseless claims that Democrats were funding the migrants and Ammon acknowledged these falsehoods on the "conservative side".
Cliven said he believed migrants should have an opportunity to apply for asylum.
"Are they really refugees or are they really criminals? … We need to settle down and sort them out, "he said. "We can take care of a few thousand people for a few days."
Cliven emphasized that borders could be justified in some cases: "That is the United States" job to protect our borders. If they have to use teargas, I hope they don't have to and I hope they wouldn't do it. "
The Bundys are Mormons, and the father and son are both referenced faith in their commentary about migrants.
"We are sort of a worldwide church. We do believe that we are the Heavenly Father's children, "said Cliven, noting that there are Mexican members of the Mormon church. "We do believe we’re equal, and we will be treated equal and not be divided."
Cliven said he also thought Trump's proposed wall, a signature part of the 2016 campaign, would be largely pointless.
"I don't think it's going to do any good," he said, adding, "We have an obligation between both countries to deal with each other, and we are neighbors … Those refugees who are coming from far south, I think we gotta deal with them. I don't think they're you're big of a problem. "
Ryan said he spoke with Ammon, speaking with Ammon, prior to his Facebook video and expressed support for his brother, adding, "The United States of America has always been known as a melting pot. It's always been a place for immigration. Except for the Native Americans, we're all immigrants. "
But, he added, "That doesn't mean everyone can just rush the border. There is still a process that needs to take place. "
The Bundys' lengthy may have also influenced their somewhat unique politics.
Cliven, who was famous for referring to black Americans as "the nergro", and questioning whether they were "better off as slaves", said he had learned a lot about the unfairness of the US prison system.
"There's a pretty good percentage of people that shouldn't be in jail," he said. "They are making money off of prisoners … It's a bureaucracy instead of the justice system."
He said he was being transferred to America's high rates of incarceration: " I've seen a lot of good people in there. The smartest people in this nation might be incarcerated in their jails. "
Ammon, who could not have been reached for comment, said that he received a lot of "negative responses" for "refugees": "Some people wished me dead and others wished that the militia had never come and help my family so that the government would kill us. "